This veggie burger, based on the fortifying mushroom and barley soup, is simple and abundant in mushroom flavor. Substitute other mushroom varieties, such as plain button or exotic oyster, if you like. The combination of barley and ‘shrooms makes for a deliciously chewy, nutty-tasting burger.–Lukas Volger
LC Classic Incarnate Note
We gotta say, this recipe makes a ridiculously irresistible veggie burger. (And we don’t even like veggie burgers. Except for these. We swear.) To save time and fuss, we turn to this recipe those weeks when we’ve thought ahead and have some cooked grains and potatoes stashed in the fridge, which allows us to whip these burgers up in a jiffy. (Though yes, they’re eminently worth the time and dirty dishes invested in starting them from scratch.) Set some extra napkins on the table while you’re at it, seeing as these burgers can easily err on the side of being slightly tricky to contain in a bun—not in a bad way, just in an oh-drat-I-almost-lost-half-my-burger-to-my-lap way. Or watch author Lukas Volger make his mashup of mushrooms and barley in the video below and see for yourself what it ought to look like. If you’re anything like us, you may have to watch it twice, as the first time we admit to being a little distracted by his hair.
- Quick Glance
- 20 M
- 45 M
- Makes 4 to 6
- 2 small Yukon Gold potatoes or 1 large russet potato (12 to 16 ounces total), peeled if desired and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound mushrooms (preferably 1 portobello mushroom, 12 cremini mushrooms, and 10 shiitake mushrooms)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup cooked barley (or substitute brown rice or Kashi 7 Whole Grain Pilaf)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 to 6 soft, squishy hamburger buns, preferably whole grain
- 1. Steam or boil the potatoes until fork-tender, 20 to 30 minutes or so. Drain the potatoes. Transfer to a plate and mash half of them with a fork.
- 2. Meanwhile, trim the stems from the mushrooms and discard. Scoop out the gills from the portobello and discard. Cut the cap into 1/2-inch chunks. Thinly slice the cremini and shiitake caps.
- 3. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- 4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the portobello and thyme for 6 to 8 minutes, until the mushroom begins to soften and throw off its liquid. Add the creminis and shiitakes and cook for 10 minutes, until they’ve thrown off their moisture and all the liquid has completely evaporated. Add the vinegar and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or so.
- 5. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped or, if you prefer, finely chop the mushroom mixture by hand. Dump the chopped mushroom mixture into a bowl and, using your hands, add half the mashed potato along with the barley, salt, and pepper. If the mixture isn’t sticking together properly, mash the remaining potato and add it to the mixture, a little at a time, until everything begins to cling together. [Editor’s Note: This is critical. In the words of author Lukas Volger, if the mixture is “too wet, it squeezes out the other side of the bun, and if it’s too dry, it crumbles.” It’s a delicate balance. Trust us.] Shape the mixture into 4 to 6 burgers.
- 6. In a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add the burgers, working in batches if necessary so as not to crowd the skillet, and cook until browned on each side, 6 to 10 minutes total. The burgers tend to be somewhat delicate, so flip them only once, preferably using a thin, flexible metal spatula. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the burgers are firm and cooked through. Place on buns and have at it—carefully, though, as the burgers tend to be on the crumbly side of things.